Can Golden Retrievers Swim? Is It Good Exercise For Them?


Some dog breeds are excellent swimmers. You can also find dogs with lesser swimming skills for sure. What about Golden Retrievers? Can Golden Retrievers swim?

Golden retrievers are instinctively outstanding swimmers. Bred to retrieve ducks and other birds from lakes and rivers, these dogs stay comfortable in the water. With the right body proportions, water-repellent outer coat and higher activity levels, Golden Retrievers make natural swimmers, and can stay warm even in colder water thanks to their thick undercoat.

What Makes Golden Retrievers Naturally Good Swimmers?

The Golden Retriever is a muscular, powerful, and medium-sized dog with a thick, shiny coat of gold or cream color.

A straight muzzle, broad head, short ears, and intelligent eyes are the noteworthy features of this breed. With a friendly and trustworthy nature, Goldens respond to your training fast.

What makes them natural swimmers? As mentioned above, these dogs were historically bred to retrieve fowl from different bodies of water during hunting. The physical characteristics of this breed are suited to make them great swimmers.

With a long, flat, and water-repellent outer or topcoat and a heavy undercoat, Golden Retrievers stay comfortable even in cold water.

The thick undercoat safeguards them against the cold while the upper layer or guard hairs repel water efficiently. The medium size of Goldens lets them float on water easily.

The powerful, large legs of these dogs provide excellent support to the body in the water. All these physical characteristics with high intelligence and responsiveness to training play the most important role in making them natural, efficient swimmers.

All breeds will start dog paddling when put into water. However, many of them fail to sustain the paddling. You don’t need to worry about this situation with Golden Retrievers.

A joyous and playful approach to life can definitely be associated with this dog breed. You can find traces of puppyish behavior even in adulthood.

Built to retrieve birds for hours on end, these dogs love to spend time on the water. Goldens are listed as one of the best 10 swimming dog breeds in the world.

How Far And For How Long Can Golden Retrievers Swim?

Offering much-needed endurance, the muscular, powerful, and lean legs of Goldens help them swim long distances. The undercoat keeps the dog warm. The water-repellant topcoat maintains the skin nice and dry.

Having the perfect coat for swimming lets these dogs sustain themselves in water for longer periods. A healthy Golden Retriever can swim for a very long time. If you want to improve the swimming skills of this breed, you need to offer them the right training.

Generally speaking, healthy dogs can swim for around 40 minutes continuously. The exact distance or amount of time a Golden Retriever swims depends on three traits: personality, swimming ability, and physical fitness.

With systematic training methods, you can certainly increase the swimming ability of your dog!

Do Golden Retrievers Like The Water And Being At The Beach?

Even if golden retrievers were bred to be outstanding swimmers, some dogs might get nervous around water, particularly deep or moving water. That is to say, not all Golden Retrievers are great fans of water. A traumatic event at an early age can be the root cause of this irrational fear of water.

If you don’t introduce your dog to swimming and water at an early age properly, it may develop a sense of aversion towards swimming. Every dog is unique and different. You need to train your Golden Retriever puppy systematically with patience to make it an excellent swimmer.

The inherent ability and smart training methods motivate Golden Retrievers to like water and being at the beach. These dogs can swim and play underwater better than many other breeds. They instinctively know the art of holding breath for short periods while diving underwater.

Golden Retriever puppies have an inherent taste to spend time in the water. Most of them love jumping and playing in the water. Can Golden retrievers swim at a beach? In fact, these dogs enjoy frolicking among the waves at the seashore.

When you take your dog to a beach, you must be careful about a few things. You should never let your furry companion drink salt water. It is harmful to the health of your pet.

Never throw your Golden Retriever in the sea all of a sudden. A life jacket can be used to help your Goldy acclimatize to seawater. As your pet keeps gaining experience, you can let him enjoy swimming without a life jacket.

If the climate is really hot, you must apply a good pet sunscreen lotion on your pet with SPF 30 or more. A Golden Retriever loves playing on the beach. However, you should never let the dog overexert.

Agile dogs like Golden Retrievers easily get excited when they are on a beach. As a responsible pet owner, you need to step in and ensure that the dog gets adequate rest. It is always advisable to take breaks between playtimes.

Do Golden Retrievers like the water and being at the beach? Yes, they like the water and being at the beach. The long and powerful hind legs of these dogs help them swim better and stay afloat in water. Further, Goldens are really good at maneuvering in large bodies of water with waves.

Is It Safe For Golden Retrievers To Swim In Cold Water?

Their special coats make Golden Retrievers better equipped than many breeds to swim in cold water for longer periods. The double coat makes them effectively water-resistant dogs. Offering a wool-like feel, the undercoat keeps these dogs warm.

The topcoat, also known as guard hairs’, provides maximum protection against debris and dirt. Being water-repellent, the topcoat maintains the dryness of the skin efficiently. So, the special double coat feature makes Goldens swim in cold water without getting exhausted or uncomfortable easily.

All these qualities of the coat provide outstanding benefits for Golden Retrievers in water.

Overexposure to cold temperatures for an extended period makes most dog breeds highly vulnerable to energy loss, disorientation, and joint stiffness.

With excellent protection from their thick coats, Goldens are less likely to experience these symptoms while swimming in cold water.

6 Helpful Tips To Get A Golden Retriever To Swim

  • Introduce a Golden Retriever to water slowly

The natural swimming instincts of Golden Retrievers make many people think that throwing these dogs directly into the water is the best way to start with. It is a misconception. You must slowly introduce them to water.

  • Introduce your Golden to water at a young age

It is always advisable to introduce a Golden Retriever to water at a young age.

A puppy aged between 8 and 12 weeks learns faster. You don’t have to do much teach teaching because young puppies will start swimming naturally. The inquisitiveness and adventure spirit make them fast learners.

  • Place an attractive dog toy in the pool

You can start the swimming lessons with a paddling pool in your garden. It is a mistake to force the dog into the pool. Placing a favorite toy of your dog in the pool is a smart way to entice him.

  • Take the dog to deep water once he is comfortable with shallow water

You should not introduce a Golden Retriever to deeper water immediately.

Let the dog get familiar with shallow waters before introducing him to deep water such as a beach or a lake.

  • Use a leash while on a beach

When you take your dog to a beach for swimming, you need to walk him on a leash parallel to the water.

As you keep walking up and down the beach with your dog, you have to move inwards gradually to let the dog have a feel of the moving tide.

  • Use a life jacket for your Golden

The overenthusiasm of a Golden Retriever may encourage him to jump into the water immediately. So you can use a life jacket like this one initially to prevent unwanted accidents.

Golden Retrievers’ Breeding As It Relates To Swimming

Can Golden Retrievers swim? Yes, this dog breed can swim fast and efficiently. These dogs were bred to retrieve waterfowl, like geese and ducks in the water bodies for hunters. That is how the name Retriever was given to this breed.

When a hunter shoots down birds, they might end up floating in the middle of a water body. It is not practical for the hunter to take a boat every time to bring back the hunted bird.

That is when Golden Retrievers are used to locate and retrieve the bird.

The practice of using Goldens for recovering a game bird has been prevalent for many years. These dogs are capable of identifying the bird accurately with their inherent swimming skills. They retrieve the bird using their soft mouth and swim back to their master quickly.

Is Swimming Good For Golden Retrievers?

A low-impact activity like swimming is an ideal exercise for Golden Retrievers. With the limited strain on the body, they can perform high-intensity exercise to maintain optimal health. The high activeness of these dogs makes swimming a perfect choice.

The best thing is that Goldens love to spend time in the water and enjoy swimming. So you don’t need to take some extra effort to put them in water. You can even take an eight-month puppy to water without using any force (just don’t forget that life jacket).

The experts recommend up to one-hour daily swimming exercise for Golden Retrievers. You can even increase the time a bit more if your dog is optimally healthy. When it comes to deciding the exact duration of the training, you need to consider the age and health condition of your dog.

Swimming is an excellent form of physical exercise for a Golden Retriever. Moreover, it offers much-needed mental stimulation to improve the overall wellbeing of your dog!

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